Katie Swenson Selected for Harvard University Loeb Fellowship
For nearly two decades the Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship has identified emerging young architectural designers and connected them with local community development organizations to facilitate an inclusive, sustainable approach to development. Each new class of fellows demonstrates the power of design to strengthen communities, increase opportunity and improve health through well-designed homes affordable to low-income families, seniors, veterans, and people with special needs.
Katie Swenson, Enterprise’s vice president of Design and Sustainability, was in our second class of Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellows and has gone on to lead not only the fellowship but Enterprise’s design work nationwide. She is now at the forefront of the movement to use design to promote equity, demonstrating to business, philanthropy and government ways that design principles can improve people’s lives.
Recognizing her significant contributions to this work, this week the prestigious Harvard University Loeb Fellowship named Katie to their 2018-2019 cohort.
The Loeb Fellowship, initiated by the vision of John L. Loeb, was launched in 1968 at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in response to the “chaos in our cities, the loss of control over our environment, the urgent need for leadership for the future.” Each year, the Loeb Fellowship brings promising innovators in the built and natural environment sectors to Harvard and MIT to challenge themselves to do more and do better, so that they return to their work with new ideas and energy.
While much has changed in the 50 years since the Loeb Fellowship’s launch, our nation and global community still face critical issues of poverty, housing insecurity, and environmental risks, as well as tensions of race and equity. Opportunities such as the Loeb Fellowship foster the break-through thinking needed to solve them. Enterprise is honored to become a part, through Katie, of an unparalleled worldwide network of the 450 Loeb Fellowship alumni, formed by individuals pushing the leading edge of work to make our communities more just and equitable.
Using fellowships as a platform for innovation is no stranger to us at Enterprise. Over the past 19 years, the Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship has nurtured the leadership of nearly 80 Enterprise Rose Fellows. The fellowship, by enhancing the capacity of community development organizations in cities and in rural and tribal communities, has helped raise the bar for design excellence in affordable housing development, improving the lives of thousands of residents.
Katie’s Loeb Fellowship will deepen and expand the work she has been pioneering with Enterprise. After completing her three-year Enterprise Rose Fellowship with the Piedmont Housing Alliance in Charlottesville, Virginia, she founded the Charlottesville Community Design Center in 2004 to chart the development of the city through community-engaged design. After seeing her in action, Enterprise recruited Katie in 2006 to lead the Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship.
Over the past dozen years, Katie has not only made the Enterprise Rose Fellowship the premier opportunity for architects committed to using design to improve lives and increase opportunity but has also has cultivated a powerful, broad Design Initiative focused on incorporating design thinking into how we plan, develop and operate the communities of the future. It is the only one of its kind in the country.
Colleagues in the field have noticed Katie’s and Enterprise’s leadership. In each of the last two years, the American Institute of Architects awarded Enterprise the Collaborative Achievement Award: first for the Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship, and then for the Enterprise Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute. The successes that led to these awards was born from the spirit of breaking down silos and of cross-sector thinking—across architecture, health, housing, community and economic development, education, transit—that Enterprise, Katie and the Design Initiative embody. As she moves this spirit of collaborative problem-solving forward and joins the Loeb Fellowship class of 2019, Enterprise congratulates Katie and looks forward to sharing the innovative thinking and collective problem solving that this incredible opportunity promises for communities across the country.